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Christmas 2004

Well, we got to Detroit for the holiday weekend, but getting back to Baton Rouge was another story.

Remember all those Comair customers that had their flights cancelled? Miss Julie and I were two of them.

We got into Detroit just fine, barely avoiding the original meltdown of Comair's computers. But our Sunday morning flight back to New Orleans was cancelled, then re-booked, then finally revoked.

We stood in line for three hours at various ticket desks, spoke to various agents and endured what passes for customer service at Delta Airlines these days. At one point, I was convinced that the ticket agent scanning the system for our alternate flight info was, in reality, instant-messaging her boyfriend.

Needless to say, tempers, ah, "flared."

Note to service employees: no matter how bad your day is going, no matter how many hours in a row you've worked without a break, you should never, never, ever yell at a customer.

Finally, a great guy from Northwest booked us on a non-stop flight from Detroit to New Orleans...departure: Monday morning. So we holed up in a nearby hotel with "The Longest Continuous Hallway in Michigan" (I kid you not). We ordered in, read lots of books and watched HBO while, outside, the temperature hovered around 12 degrees.

Monday morning finally arrived and we flew out of Detroit and back to New Orleans. All is well.

But let me tell you about the scariest part of the trip...

Flying into Detroit on Thursday afternoon, Delta lost Miss Julie's bag. But that wasn't scary -- just annoying.

They promised to deliver it by Friday afternoon but, you guessed it, no bag. That still wasn't scary -- just disappointing.

Since I had to pick up my brother at the same terminal Friday evening, we decided to ask Delta about the bag. So while I circled the main access road, MJ walked into the terminal to find my brother and see about her bag. When I came back around, she had found her bag!

Still not scary -- just unbelievable. Delta didn't even make the effort to put the bag on a truck.

"It was just sitting there by the baggage carousel in a huge row of orphan suitcases," she says. "So I just picked it up and walked out."

"No one stopped you at the door for ID or anything?"


"Hunh. So in other words, someone could just rent a step-van, park at the curb, walk into the terminal and start loading stuff into the hold?" says I.

"Think of all the Christmas presents!" says she.

Ho, ho, ho. But that's still not the scariest part.

The scariest part is that anyone could have walked into the terminal (a few short steps off the sidewalk) and delivered a ticking suitcase bomb right into the middle of baggage claim. And then just walked away.

That's the scariest part.

(HT to Pat Oliphant)

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